"It has been just about thirty years that the contemporary field of women's history has been in practice. There have been changes within the field, in the bulk of the work and where its gravity lands. The initial impulses and ambitions in the field simply were to make women visible, to put women on the historical record, to enable women's voices to be heard, to listen to their voices, and to show their points of view. That was not a simple endeavor. It involved changing—broadening—what had been seen as "history," what had been seen as historically important. It even involved changing typical periodization and assumptions about causation in history. The ambition to focus on women's lives and experiences involved revisualizing what was subject to history…Fulfilling that ambition significantly changed what was in the corpus of US history in the 1970s and into the 1980s."
Nancy Cott, Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, Senior Fellow of the Society of Fellows, Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library
Though it is a relatively recent field of study, women's history is inscribed across all of the Harvard Library holdings gathered since 1638. By examining those holdings afresh and querying them in a new and feminist light, the curators of Women Working have aggregated thousands of items that illuminate women's history. The result is a unique, virtual collection, comprising over 650,000 individual pages from more than 3,100 books and trade catalogs, 900 archives and manuscript items, and 1,400 photographs.
Women Working, 1800–1930 is a digital exploration of women's impact on the economic life of the United States between 1800 and the Great Depression. Working conditions, workplace regulations, home life, costs of living, commerce, recreation, health and hygiene, and social issues are among the issues documented in this online research collection from Harvard University.